Have you been Sudhafed?

Posts tagged “cooking

Sacred Chef Cookbook Just Published

SecretsBookCover

NOW AVAILABLE at KOBO RRP $4.99

Sacred Chef secrets and recipes.. my collection of recipes and writings, gathered over a lifetime of cooking and teaching.

Cooking a beautiful meal for family, friends and loved ones is an act of devotion. What better way to show how much you love someone? I have always said that cooking is the only kind of Art, that really gets inside you. We ingest the goodness, literally. It is a creative act and it is a labour of love.

I hope that you, will find some great recipes here to try and perhaps add to your own culinary repertoire. Recipes are like magic spells to incant with your hands, touching, inspiring, chopping, stirring and then serving. The dance of the kitchen, I call it, weaving wonder with saucepans and knives. Good cooking involves a flow of energy, as you engage with matter and time, coordinating the arrival of a number of different elements.

For some, this can be a stressful process and the memory of traumatic kitchen experiences permeates their appreciation of cooking. This collection of recipes, also includes some useful tips and suggestions about how these painful situations can be avoided. Of course the essential nature of the kitchen and cooking must be embraced; it is a place of earth, fire, air and water. Meaning that you need to be present in the moment, aware and ready to respond, not distracted and thinking of other things. You cannot daydream in the home of heat and steel.

Your cooking experience will ultimately be defined by your attitude towards it – I hope that this book will turn you on to the very satisfying pleasure that comes from sacred cooking, eating and drinking. May the cooking gods smile upon you!

 

Sudha Hamilton aka The Sacred Chef

CLICK HERE to Purchase from KOBO RRP $4.99


Giv’ em something good on the sunshine coast to do

In Kawana, Nambour, or anywhere on the sunshine coast hinterland, what better Christmas present than a gift voucher from the Maleny Cooking School! What do you get? Two hours in our cooking studio, overlooking the Glass House mountains, with our chef, Sudha Hamilton, who has worked with Neil Perry, David Thompson and Billy Saunders. Followed by a world class 3 course lunch with Epicurean conversation; take home recipe pack and goodie bag.

Purchase now online at housetherapy.com.au/sacred-chef-gift-vouchers  to get your choice of gift vouchers for a wonderful cooking lessons with gourmet lunch in our private dining room, here in Maleny.

Online gift vouchers are redeemable for 12 months – giving your recipent plenty of time to schedule a convenient time.

MalenyCookSchoolGiftVoucher

Give the gift that keeps on giving!

Delicious and educational – you might even benefit yourself if you innoccently ask to taste the results of your gift.

Queensland cooking school offering cooking classes and lessons with a complimentary gourmet lunch.

housetherapy.com.au/sacred-chef-gift-couchers


Maroochydore Caloundra Christmas Cooking Class Gift Voucher

In Maroochydore, Caloundra, or anywhere on the sunshine coast hinterland, what better Christmas present than a gift voucher from the Maleny Cooking School! What do you get? Two hours in our cooking studio, overlooking the Glass House mountains, with our chef, Sudha Hamilton, who has worked with Neil Perry, David Thompson and Billy Saunders. Followed by a world class 3 course lunch with Epicurean conversation; take home recipe pack and goodie bag.

Purchase now online at housetherapy.com.au/sacred-chef-gift-vouchers  to get your choice of gift vouchers for a wonderful cooking lessons with gourmet lunch in our private dining room, here in Maleny.

Online gift vouchers are redeemable for 12 months – giving your recipent plenty of time to schedule a convenient time.

MalenyCookSchoolGiftVoucher

Give the gift that keeps on giving!

Delicious and educational – you might even benefit yourself if you innoccently ask to taste the results of your gift.

Queensland cooking school offering cooking classes and lessons with a complimentary gourmet lunch.

housetherapy.com.au/sacred-chef-gift-couchers


Woodford Beerwah Landsborough Christmas Gift Voucher Ideas

In Maleny, Montville, or anywhere on the sunshine coast hinterland, what better Christmas present than a gift voucher from the Maleny Cooking School! What do you get? Two hours in our cooking studio, overlooking the Glass House mountains, with our chef, Sudha Hamilton, who has worked with Neil Perry, David Thompson and Billy Saunders. Followed by a world class 3 course lunch with Epicurean conversation; take home recipe pack and goodie bag.

Purchase now online at housetherapy.com.au/sacred-chef-gift-vouchers  to get your choice of gift vouchers for a wonderful cooking lessons with gourmet lunch in our private dining room, here in Maleny.

Online gift vouchers are redeemable for 12 months – giving your recipent plenty of time to schedule a convenient time.

MalenyCookSchoolGiftVoucher

Give the gift that keeps on giving!

Delicious and educational – you might even benefit yourself if you innoccently ask to taste the results of your gift.

Queensland cooking school offering cooking classes and lessons with a complimentary gourmet lunch.

housetherapy.com.au/sacred-chef-gift-couchers


Queenslanders Cooking is Hot Cooking Class Gift Vouchers Rock

Queenslanders, cooking is hot! Even salads are more popular, and despite your disdain for alfalfa, I reckon a gift voucher for a gourmet cooking class in beautiful Maleny could vy for the Christmas gift of the season. What say ye Bananabender? Are you game to break out beyond the Kmart crap of yule tide history?

Sunshine coast residents and visitors, hereye, hereye, the Maleny Cooking School, its not really a school there aren’t any nasty teachers with whips and rulers, its not like a religious establishment afterall. The Maleny Cooking School (place?) offers a sumptiuous combination of inspirational and enthusiastic cooking tuition with a scrumptious lunch in our dining room. We do have a sacred chef, but he keeps his hands to himself, apart from waving them around when he talks too much and gets a bit excited.

We cook Thai, Spanish, Italian, French, Japanese and Indian – just to name a few of our favourite cuisines. Cooking class, or experience, attendees receive a take-home recipe pack and goodie bag; in addition to their guided hands-on two hours in our cooking studio and world class lunch.

Sacred Chef Maleny Cooking School Gift Vouchers are available online for instant present giving gratification.

The Sacred Chef, Sudha Hamilton, has even written a book, for those Australian’ s who can read, its called House Therapy!

MalenyCookSchoolGiftVoucher

 

PURCHASE ONLINE COOKING CLASS GIFT VOUCHERS HERE


Sunshine Coast Queensland Cooking Teacher & Author – The Kitchen

Excerpt from – House Therapy – Discovering who you really are at home!

By Sudha Hamilton

House Therapy is now available online at www.housetherapy.com.au Kobo & Amazon Kindle

 

The Kitchen

 

The Ancient Greeks, who gave us many of the founding principles upon which we base our modern societies – democracy; logic; philosophy; literature and poetry to name but a few salient examples, had  a rich collection of gods and goddesses. Hestia was the goddess of hearth and home, older sister to Zeus and first born of the titan’s, Kronos and Rhea, perhaps not as well known today as her siblings Demeter, Hera, Haides and Poseidon.  This may have been due to the fact that she was swallowed first by her titan father Kronos, who in  a bid to avoid being overthrown by one of his children, as prophesied, ate all his children, she was thus the last to be regurgitated, once Zeus had forced his father to do so. Families and mealtimes are, as we all know, never easy.

The Romans also worshipped her in their homes and knew her as Vesta. The areas of responsibility for which Hestia was worshipped and sacrificed to, were most aspects of domestic life and in particular what we now call the kitchen. For it is around the cooking hearth, or kitchen, that a home, or house, builds out and up. Hestia was always toasted at the beginning of a meal in thanks for the hospitality proffered. She was probably where the early Christians appropriated their ‘saying of grace’ before dinner from.

Homeric Hymn 24 to Hestia (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th – 4th B.C.) :
“Hestia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless gods and men who walk on earth, you have gained an everlasting abode and highest honour: glorious is your portion and your right. For without you mortals hold no banquet,–where one does not duly pour sweet wine in offering to Hestia both first and last. And you, Argeiphontes [Hermes], son of Zeus and Maia, . . . be favourable and help us, you and Hestia, the worshipful and dear. Come and dwell in this glorious house in friendship together; for you two, well knowing the noble actions of men, aid on their wisdom and their strength. Hail, Daughter of Kronos, and you also, Hermes.”

Interestingly Hestia was a virginal goddess and refused the suits of both Apollo and Poseidon. Perhaps this is where we get the separation of the sexual roles of the wife and mother in the home and the focus on providing nurture and hospitality instead. Hestia was seen as the giver of all domestic happiness and good fortune in the home and she was believed to dwell in the inner parts of every home. She was also the first god mentioned at every sacrifice, as she represented the hearth where sacrifices took place – this is the direct link to our kitchens today and the genesis of the sacred chef. There are very few temples of Hestia extant and this is thought to be because every home was her temple in the Hellenistic world. I think we can draw some intuition from this in our view of our homes being places of divine inspiration.

MalenyCookSchoolGiftVoucher

 

housetherapy.com.au  Maleny Cooking School Sacred Chef Gift Vouchers


Singapore Comes to Sacred Chef Cooking School

The Maleny Cooking School was visited by three vibrant, Singaporean ladies, who attended our Modern Australian cooking class and gourmet lunch. These lovely ladies knew their food, bringing a passion and gusto to the cooking studio, and dining room here in Maleny, on Queensland’s sunshine coast. One of these special Singaporean women, was Kai Tamin-Goh, a free lance journalist and she was introduced to me by this letter from Christina Leong:

“My name is Christina Leong and I’m the Marketing Communications Manager in Tourism & Events Queensland Singapore. Hope you are well.

I’m writing to you about an editorial coverage opportunity in Singapore. I have a freelance writer by the name of Ms Kai Tamin Goh who will be travelling to Sunshine Coast from 22 – 30 October to experience the highlights of this beautiful region.

One of the main stories that she will be writing is on Cooking Schools in Sunshine Coast. She would like to write about a first-hand experience and I’ve suggested Maleny Cooking School, having had a look at your class schedule and noting that you have a class on 23 Oct on Modern Australian cuisine which is perfect as we would like to highlight authentic Australian cuisine.

The story will appear in The Straits Times, Singapore largest English circulating newspaper and the highest circulated newspaper, with a readership 1.4 million daily. As well, it may appear in another smaller publication called Weekender which has a circulation of 200,000. You can have a look at the digital paper at www.straitstimes.com or http://www.weekender.com.sg/. “

Well we all had a great day, including Joanna & John, who were also attending the Modern Oz cooking class. I will let you know what we all cooked up for lunch on this special day”

Prawn & Pork Won Tons in Chinese Chicken Broth

Confit of Duck Leg

Milanese Saffron Risotto

Parsnip Puree

Ruby Grapefruit & Asparagus Salad

Dark Chocolate & Espresso Tart with Raspberry Coulis & Double Cream

These ladies had an appetite too, polishing off their plates with typical Singaporean panache and bravo. It was a fun day and it was particularly enjoyable to meet these beautiful women and to show off our quality Australian fare.

The Maleny Cooking School is available for cooking classes and gourmet lunches.

Why be just a consumer when you can create too!

Sudha Hamilton

Sacred Chef


Aussie Blokes Crowding the Kitchen

At the Sacred Chef Cooking School, here in Maleny on Queensland’s sunshine coast, we are seeing a surge in the number of men attending our ‘cooking experiences’. Dads, hubbies, brothers and uncles are all showing their superior culinary skills in the kitchen. Creating delicious food and exciting dishes is a great way to relax at home and get away from the modern day pressures. Australia has a growing reputation as a food mecca and we Aussies have embraced the whole ‘home chef‘ thing.

Father’s day gifts are no longer restricted to socks, jocks and ties – and can involve an enjoyable day for dad and mum, and maybe even a kid or older relative. A little prep and cooking, a few laughs and then sit down to a restaurant experience with some Epicurean conversation thrown in. Good cooks are passionate people and enjoy coming together to swap a few funny stories and recipes.

Enjoy slow cooked Thai style lamb shanks; Tapas king prawns in garlic & chill; spicy fresh seafood; real food with flavour

Cooking Experience gift vouchers are available online at housetherapy.com.au/sacred-chef-gift-vouchers/

Email sacredchef@housetherapy.com.au

Call 5499 9280


Buderim Party Catering by Sacred Chef

The Sacred Chef, with barpersons and waitpersons, catered for a delicious party in Buderim for 100 guests. Held in the sublime mansion of our hosts we brought nourishment and style to this wonderful party. Guests were generous with their appreciation of the many canapes and noodle box delights selections we brought, in consultation with mein host, to this very special party event.

Pork belly on black sticky rice; lamb tagine on cous cous; chickpea and lemon grass vegetarian curry on basmati; salmon caviar on creme fraiche; sushi; Thai chicken wings; Tandoori lamb cutlets, and so much more.

Good looking waiters and barpersons entertaining guests and delicious food served on time. Sacred Chef Catering the very best on the sunshine coast. Buderim delights to stress free catering with Sacred Chef.

5499 9280

sacredchef@midasword.com.au

malenycookingschool.com

sacredchef.com.au

 


Sunshine Coast Cooking Class for School Mums

The Sacred Chef presented a sunshine coast cooking class, here in Maleny, for five school mums who celebrated the birthday of one of their number. Fresh seafood and vegetarian dishes dominated their menu choices. Thai and modern Oz cuisine selections were the order of the day.

Good friends and good food combined to create a very enjoyable time for all. Two hours in the cooking studio, preparing six or seven dishes to later enjoy for lunch, these five ladies were fun and also adept with their knife skills. Laughter and conversation rang out around the dining table as we served them the fruits of their labour.

Looking for something new to do? Something fun and tasty to enjoy with friends? Sacred Chef cooking classes + gourmet lunches are a unique way to have fun on the sunshine coast. Sunshine coast school mums are cooking up and creating a great day for themselves.

Maleny Cooking School and Sacred Chef are available seven days to host your very own day.


My Spanish Omelette Pan

As I was cooking my most recent Spanish omelette, the other day, I thought about just how long I have had this pan – thirty years I think. This pan and I have made a lot of Spanish omelettes together. We are both a bit beaten around the edges I suppose, but we still make a pretty yummy omelette!

I have carried this pan in my kit bag, so to speak, over continents and across this land – a journeyman with his tools of trade, flipping peasant food that defies fashions and fads. In a simpler world one could make a living with just this single pan – bringing nourishment to the world. Romantic daydreams  I suppose but the essence of cooking hasn’t really changed in three thousand years.

If you can take potatoes, eggs and oil, and create a wonderful repast for others to enjoy – then this is the primal heart of catering and cooking.

Sacred Chef Cooking School and Catering.

Spanish Omelette
• 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
• 6 potatoes, thinly sliced
• 1 onion, thinly sliced
• 4 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
• 6 eggs
• Salt & freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tbs roughly chopped fresh continental parsley
In a frypan saute your potatoes in olive oil until just
tender before adding in your onions, garlic, salt and
cooking for a further 5 minutes. Beat eggs and paprika,
pepper, salt in a bowl before pouring over potatoes
and onions in the frypan. Turn the heat down
low and put a lid on pan, cook until eggs begin to set.
Flip omelette over in pan and cook the other side for
a further 5 to 10 minutes on a very low heat, Allow to
cool and serve warm or chilled with roast garlic aoli.
©Sacred Chef


Sunshine Coast Catering Par Excellence

The Sacred Chef Catering Company is the benchmark for quality and value for catering on the sunshine coast. We have delivered exceptional food and service  to the sunshine coast, in south east Queensland, for over four years now, since relocating from Sydney.

Our chef freshly prepares your food on the day of your function and you can taste the difference. We do not buy in your food or reheat frozen dishes, as so many caterers do. Alive and tantalising flavours are our speciality. We also run a cooking school, so that you can try before your buy and perhaps be inspired at home to create some amazing dishes.

If you would like to impress your friends, family and clients – Sacred Chef Catering on the sunshine coast!

07 5499 9280

sacredchef@midasword.com.au


Best on the Cooking Class Sunshine Coast

Perched upon a breathtaking ridge amidst the Maleny hinterland, the Sacred Chef brings anticipation of a cooking class with ornamental charm. However visitors and chefs-to-be will also discover a culinary sanctuary that will embody their mind, spirit and soul.

As a tourist visiting Caloundra, I was obligated to seek out the township of Maleny and sight the antiques and sample the local organic produce. As an enthusiastic self-described new-age home cook, I also wanted to have a go at assembling some food for myself. That was when I came across the Sacred Chef. A quick Google search for ‘cooking class Maleny’ brought up many hits; however it was the Sacred Chef that stood out amongst the crowd for me. Espousing passionate food preparation and a philosophical approach to sourcing and consumption, the Sacred Chef definitely offered something more.

Upon entering the establishment, one is warmly welcomed by the Sacred Chef himself, Sudha; a worldly name that reflects a man who has enjoyed many exotic culinary adventures. But not all is revealed at once. The cooking class occurs in a rustic country home that is cosy and warm. The large windows light up the room to illuminate framed paintings and photography of children that hang creatively on the walls; a legacy of Sudha’s other passions for art and his kids. For you see, the Sacred Chef experience is more about food, it is about following passion, about livelihood and of course inner-peace.

The cooking class itself brings forward a cheerful and engaging experience. Sudha manages the class fluidly changing from instructor, to teacher, to participant. This was a radical change for me! My last cooking class had me regimentally lectured to and the chef would routinely interfere with my cooking experience. Not at the Sacred Chef. Sudha’s recipes are designed to be creative and yet sensible so that participants can prepare and creatively assemble their own masterpiece.

The best thing about the Sacred Chef is the time; it is no object. Sudha offers a flexible and slow paced environment that allows participants time to socialise, discuss foody stories, gaze momentarily out the window onto the beautiful valley below, and of course sample the ingredients along the way. Sudha shares his knowledge and experience of nutrition, gastronome and his time spent cooking overseas. Fellowship, knowledge and the flavour’s of life; this is what cooking should be about.

The best part about cooking food is obviously eating it. Once the food has been prepared the class sits down to a set-table and glasses of Riesling and Shiraz are poured. Our class enjoys a banquet that we have remarkably whipped up in approximately 90 minutes. Tasty Thai appetizers, traditional pesto and buffalo mozzarella pizzas, a delightful rocket and baby beetroot salad, slow roasted lamb-shanks fused with a special thai-inspired marinade, and a chocolate cake with a raspberry compote to conquer any last elements of resistance. Sudha joins the class at the table, already heavy in conversation, and once again becomes an integrated member of the group. After another hour of conversation the class slowly begins to depart, reminded of commitments back in the real world and a place far less interesting.

This is was my Sacred Chef experience. I was so inspired that I took the time to write a review in the hope that others may seek out the Sacred Chef experience that I enjoyed so much. I learnt to relax and enjoy food. I met wonderful people. The Sacred Chef too is wise yet humble. And what really interested me about my cooking class experience was that Sudha listened twice as much as he spoke. He was vastly more interested in your thoughts than imposing his own. This created a unique community set in time that can never be replicated nor forgotten.

I left the Sacred Chef cooking class with a goody bag (of magazines, recipes, and an abundance of left overs!) in hand, and a new outlook that reminded me to savor the ingredients of life and never stop valuing the importance and significance of food. Thanks Sudha.

Visited May 2012

Sunshine Coast Thai Cooking Class

The Sacred Chef, at the Maleny Cooking School, presented a delicious Thai cooking lesson for a Brisbane couple who were visiting the sunshine coast. What better way to enjoy a rainy winter’s day in the warm environs of the Maleny cooking school studio and dining room?

Learning new Thai recipes and techniques in the inspirational zone of a cooking school devoted to customer satisfaction. At the Maleny Cooking School we bring together the freshest exotic produce with your desire to cook, learn, eat and have some tasty fun.

Today we created crab and ginger filled rice paper rolls; snapper fillet Thai fish cakes; green paw paw salad, king prawns in lemongrass and basil; green lipped clams in chilli jam and sticky black rice pudding for dessert.

It was a delightful day of giving and sharing new things, getting to know each other and enjoying a delicious gourmet lunch. I always say,

“why be just a consumer, when you can be a creator!”

Food tastes better when you are involved in its creation and can share its genesis and know about why and where it comes from.

Cooking is the only art form that you really ingest.


Sunshine Coast Vegetarian Cooking Class Host Foodmatters Maker’s Mum

The Sacred Chef was very pleased to host the family of the maker of that exceptional documentary Foodmatters. The Maleny Cooking School, on the sunshine coast, south east Queensland, was the venue for a delightful vegetarian cooking class and subsequent gourmet lunch.

Three very beautiful ladies had selected the funghi and tofu laksa – making our own laksa paste – to accompany fresh rice paper rolls filled with raw veg, mint, coriander and ginger; also a green paw paw Thai salad; and a citrus tart with gingernut base, raspberry coulis and double cream.

It was the laksa, however, which took centre stage, as we carefully prepared a vegetable stock and special laksa paste. Next we began assembling our ingredients in vessels ready for the all important “putting it all together” phase.

A laksa is a work of visual art, as much as a multi layered meal in a bowl type of dish. The colours of enoki and shimiji mushrooms against the fresh green of  snow peas, coriander leaf and mint, produce a vivid impression.

As I say, to all my cooking students, great dishes contain a variety of textures to keep your palate interested, as well a complexity of flavours to do likewise. The crunch of bean shoots, fried tofu and sweet potato cubes, the slippery slurp of rice noodles, the richness of slightly sweet and spicy laksa paste in coconut cream, the tangy taste of fresh lime, and the myriad of other supporting flavours and mouth sensations.

Served in big steaming bowls with chopsticks and Chinese soup ladles – the laksa is a symphony played out on your dining table. To learn how to prepare a great laksa, of all culinary persuasions – whether seafood, vegetarian, or chicken – the Maleny Cooking School in conjunction with the Sacred Chef is the place to be.

07 5499 9280


Sunshine Coast Cooking School Maleny Menus

Here at the Maleny Cooking School, on the sunshine coast, we had a very yummy week just past. With visitors from the Gold Coast and Bundaberg enjoying a couple of lovely days of wining, dining and creating an array of delicious dishes, at our cooking classes.

On the Thursday, here in Maleny at the cooking school, we had the log fires burning and we were enveloped in mists, but if anything, these weather conditions just made the day, even more enjoyable. After some consultation between the attendees and myself we had come up with a very worthy menu of dishes to prepare:

  • Crab and ginger steamed dumplings with a trio of dipping sauces.
  • Chorizo sausage, goat’s cheese and lime wedges.
  • Seafood paella featuring blue eye fillets, squid, king prawns and mussels.
  • Spanish omelette with roast garlic aioli.
  • Rocket and baby spinach balsamic salad.
  • Vanilla bean ice cream.
  • Dark chocolate tart.
Recommended wine styles: Pinot Grigio & Tempranillo 
On Saturday, blue skies had been restored, and we were visited by a contingent of lovely people from the Gold Coast. Once again we had worked out a customised menu for our attendess:
  • Rocket pesto, bacon and buffalo mozzarella thin crusted pizza.
  • Tapas style king prawns with lime wedges.
  • Spanish omelette with a roasted red capsicum, bean and fresh lime salsa.
  • Slow roasted Thai style lamb shank with red curry sauce and jasmine rice.
  • Mixed leaf balsamic salad.
  • Pure chocolate tart with raspberry coulis and double cream.
 Recommended wine styles: Pinot Grigio & Clare Valley Cabernet Shiraz Merlot
When estimating the enjoyment and satisfaction of cooking class clients I don’t only listen to the nice things they say but also take into account body language – the fact that they like to stay and linger, sharing conversation and laughter, rather than walking out the door after the eating is complete.
Cooking class patrons are often surprised at how well and quickly they get on with each other, I think, that the time in the cooking studio has a bonding affect. Plus good food, a convivial ambience and a glass of wine creates a nice atmosphere for sharing.
The Maleny Cooking School is part of Sacred Chef Catering and offers great value for money and a unique experience, here on the sunshine coast.
For further reviews of the Maleny Cooking School and Sacred Chef Catering & Cooking School please check out http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g499670-d2627681-r130494017-Sacred_Chef_Cooking_School-Maleny_Sunshine_Coast_Queensland.html

Sunshine Coast Cooking Class Experience – What is it like?

I imagine that for every ten or twenty people who come along to a cooking class there are another hundred or more who don’t. I ask myself what they might think the experience might entail? With words like school, class and lesson used to describe the generic cooking instruction session I can easily assume that it might bring up some best forgotten educational memories.

Schools, in general, around the world have not tended to endear themselves, particularly to past participants. It was a time of adolescent hormonal changes and most of us were compelled to attend these institutions – bringing together opposing forces not conducive to happy times. So perhaps we in the culinary instructional field should come up will less emotive terms to describe our fun filled and tasty experiences.

The Sacred Chef cooking class, could not be further away,  from the enforced imposition of instructional input, that the state and private educational institutions implement upon our children. We respect you! We do not belittle you! We engender shared enjoyment – actual fun and real laughter.

Cooking is something we do with our hands, hearts and to a lesser extent our brains. By this I mean, that real cooking is about instinctual urges and less about intellectual pathways. We know what we like and we know what we don’t like. Taste and nourishment are tactile things, close to our sense of who we are, and at our sunshine coast cooking classes we support these parts of who you are.

At our sunshine coast cooking school we show you some new recipes, share some delicious new dishes with you at table, and serve you with a friendly ethos of trying new foods. Our idea of a good day is the smiles and oohs and aahs of yummified participants. Your enjoyment is paramount to our intentions!

Please read some reviews of people who have attended our cooking and gourmet lunch experiences. And gourmet does not mean, wanky foodies making you feel inferior. It is all about having a delicious and satisfying experience.

http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowUserReviews-g499670-d2627681-r130494017-Sacred_Chef_Cooking_School-Maleny_Sunshine_Coast_Queensland.html

Sacred Chef cooking school on the sunshine coast.


The Popularity of Cooking Classes on the Sunshine Coast

Cooking classes have become a new “must do thing” on the sunshine coast, as tourists and locals alike include at least one cooking lesson on their recreational itinerary. The Sacred Chef, of Maleny, thinks that it is part of a new trend away from passive consumerism toward active participation. He states, “why be a consumer when you can be a creator?”

Having watched the phenomenon at first hand, the Sacred Chef readily identifies the surging popularity of cooking classes as part of a greater trend toward creativity and excellence in the home. Why sit in a restaurant and be treated like a spectator when you can learn to master the culinary skills yourself and take centre stage as an artist. The Sacred Chef’s new book House Therapy – Discovering who you really are at home recognises aspects of this world wide phenomena.

Cooking schools here on the sunshine coast  are seeing substantial increases in the number of attendees. They are also witnessing a new type of cooking class attendee, one who is better informed and more highly skilled in the kitchen. The number of cooking schools here in Maleny  has also increased and the range of cuisines being offered  is larger than before. Thai cooking classes are very popular; as are Spanish cooking lessons; Regional Italian cooking classes ; and more inclusive programs offering a mix of cuisines from different ethnicities.

Watching the pride participants take in eating their lunch or dinner, after the cooking class experience, is a real eye opener when comparing it to the passive consumption in restaurants and cafes by the milling crowds. People want to be involved, doing and creating, rather than just filling an empty hole by buying stuff. Learning a useful skill that you can share and take pride in the expression of – is what good cooking is all about!


Thai Cooking Class on the Sunshine Coast for Mother and Daughter

The Sacred Chef was pleased to present a Thai cooking class for a delightful mother and daughter, here on the sunshine coast. The opportunity to be a part of these important relationships, if only for a short while, are very satisfying moments, here at the Sacred Chef Cooking School, in Maleny.  The transitioning of culinary skills from one generation to the another, is in my opinion, fairly vital for the succeeding offspring. Being able to cook for oneself and for others is an important ability to possess, if you are to nurture yourself and loved ones.

Tammie and Sarah chose a yummy Thai menu with seven dishes, which included baby green lipped clams in chilli jam; snapper fillet Thai fish cakes; green paw paw salad; crab and ginger rice paper rolls; king prawns in lemongrass and ginger; glass noodle raw veg salad with mint and lime; and sticky black rice to finish. These were unfamiliar dishes for them and they bravely took their taste buds where they had not been before.

We all had a great time in the cooking class and a lovely lunch experience afterwards. Glasses of chilled white wine - Pinot grigio and Semillion. Shared stories about families and lots of laughs. Mother and daughter took home a goodie bag of yummy dishes to share with friends and family.

Sacred Chef Cooking school on the sunshine coast, south east Queensland.


Culinary Travels on a Weekend with the Sacred Chef

 

A busy weekend saw the Sacred Chef travelling to Noosa North Shore to present a tapas evening for a hen’s party from Brisbane – cooking scallops in the shell with fresh lime, garlic, chilli and basil; olive tapenade crostinis; king prawns in fino sherry, Spanish omelette with roast garlic aioli; local mussels in wine, herbs and chilli; veal & pork croquettes with a tomato coulis; baked stuffed peppers with chicken and parmesan; and asparagus and buffalo mozzarella rocket salad.

Next stop a vegetarian cooking class, here in Maleny, where we created a chickpea and lemongrass coconut curry; Thai tofu, almond and cabbage pastries with fresh mint raita; tomato and cumin chutney, glass noodle sesame raw veg and toasted seed salad; Mediterranean savoury muffins with olives and roasted red capsicum, pine nuts and Parmesan; and the pure dark chocolate trat with raspberry coulis and double cream.

Racing off to Witta, to the Wattle Valley Retreat farmhouse, where we presented a BBQ and tapas starters – which included rocket pesto, buffalo milk cheese and oven dried cherry tomato pastries; Moroccan lamb back strap skewers with yoghurt & lemon sauce; king prawns with lime & roast red capsicum salsa; Chorizo & goats cheese platters; snapper fillets in rosemary & lemon; mussels in wine, chilli & tomato; pesto & buffalo mozzarella pizzettes; balsamic baby spinach leaves with grilled pumpkin & fresh French farmhouse style cheese; and a range of gourmet sausages with home made chutneys and sauces.

Finishing with a delightful Thai cooking class   featuring David Thompson’s recipe for clams in chilli jam, here in Maleny at Sacred Chef central.

Take a deep breath and tomorrow we start as a new chef at the Green Kitchen organic cafe in Maleny, bringing my recipes to transform their menu and perhaps create some magic. Come and visit!!!

Cooking school on the sunshine coast with the Sacred Chef.


Real Food Festival Sacred Chef Vegetarian Cooking Class a Great Success

Great fun in a warm and friendly atmosphere

The Sacred Chef vegetarian cooking class, held under the auspices of the inaugural Real Food Festival, was a great success. A dozen wonderful people attended the hands-on cooking class and gourmet lunch, and if my ears didn’t betray me, they absolutely loved it! We doubled the size of our usual class, due to the demand, and made the necessary structural adjustments to make it possible. Some very culinary talented individuals created delicious Mediterranean savoury muffins, which were gluten free, and Thai pastries with a fresh mint raita, followed by buffalo mozzarella rocket pesto thin crusted pizzas, warmed medley of olives in lime, rosemary and chilli. They then created a beautiful chickpea and lemongrass  curry, served with basmati rice, and Roma tomato, fresh basil and buffalo bocconcini salad, and to top it all off they made a divine pure dark chocolate tart and raspberry coulis, which was served with strawberries and double cream.

What really impressed me about this group, and the day itself, was how well everyone got on, animated conversation flowed around the communal table and you would have thought that it was a family gathering, without the fights of course. Generous amounts of wine flowed, although all within today’s prescribed levels of moderation, and everyone expressed genuine appreciation and praise for the day. They were a great group of people.

I would like to express my thanks and congratulations to Julie Shelton and Lee Ponder, for the wonderful job they did with putting on the Real Food festival – it was a great success!

We have booked out another Sacred Chef vegetarian cooking class, here on the sunshine coast in Maleny, on the 24 Sept, and are now booking into Saturday 1 Oct 2011, for which there are still a few places left. If you want to have a truly great day, come and partake in a fun class and enjoy a yummy lunch!


Kitchen gods and sacrifice

Excerpt from – House Therapy – Discovering who you really are at home!

By Sudha Hamilton

House Therapy is Sudha’s soon to be published new book.

 

The Kitchen

 

The Ancient Greeks, who gave us many of the founding principles upon which we base our modern societies – democracy; logic; philosophy; literature and poetry to name but a few salient examples, had  a rich collection of gods and goddesses. Hestia was the goddess of hearth and home, older sister to Zeus and first born of the titans Kronos and Rhea – perhaps not as well known today as her siblings Demeter, Hera, Haides and Poseidon.  This may have been due to the fact that she was swallowed first by her titan father Kronos, who in  a bid to avoid being overthrown by one of his children, as prophesied, ate all his children, she was thus the last to be regurgitated, once Zeus had forced his father to do so.

The Romans also worshipped her in their homes and knew her as Vesta. The areas of responsibility for which Hestia was worshipped and sacrificed to, were most aspects of domestic life and in particular what we now call the kitchen. For it is around the cooking hearth or kitchen that a home or house builds up or out. Hestia was always toasted at the beginning of a meal in thanks for the hospitality proffered. She was probably where the early Christians appropriated their ‘saying of grace’ before dinner from.

Homeric Hymn 24 to Hestia (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th – 4th B.C.) :
“Hestia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless gods and men who walk on earth, you have gained an everlasting abode and highest honour: glorious is your portion and your right. For without you mortals hold no banquet,–where one does not duly pour sweet wine in offering to Hestia both first and last. And you, Argeiphontes [Hermes], son of Zeus and Maia, . . . be favourable and help us, you and Hestia, the worshipful and dear. Come and dwell in this glorious house in friendship together; for you two, well knowing the noble actions of men, aid on their wisdom and their strength. Hail, Daughter of Kronos, and you also, Hermes.”

Interestingly Hestia was a virginal goddess and refused the suits of both Apollo and Poseidon. Perhaps this is where we get the separation of the sexual roles of the wife and mother in the home and the focus on providing nurture and hospitality instead. Hestia was seen as the giver of all domestic happiness and good fortune in the home and she was believed to dwell in the inner parts of every home. She was also the first god mentioned at every sacrifice, as she represented the hearth where sacrifices took place – this is the direct link to our kitchens today and the genesis of the sacred chef. There are very few temples of Hestia extant and this is thought to be because every home was her temple in the Hellenistic world. I think we can draw some intuition from this in our view of our homes being places of divine inspiration.

The kitchen has of late become a popular focus of interest, with TV chefs and groovy restaurants grabbing the public’s imagination. For House Therapy the kitchen represents our centre, our practical and instinctual selves. This is where we prepare food for family and ourselves. It is also often where food is stored in the refrigerator and pantry cupboards. Food is about survival and security. There is no bullshit about these things and the kitchen is a place where the elements of nature still regularly intervene. Fire on the stove and in your oven; water at the sink, earth in the bench tops and structure; and air in the extractor, fan forced oven and all around. You can be hurt in the kitchen if you do not pay attention to what you are about. Unlike the faux furies vented in the kitchens on TV, you can experience some real passions in these hot and pressurised places at home. You might be burning fingers and dishes, dropping scoldingly hot plates and crying bitter tears over chopped onions. The kitchen is where we show our real reactions to strong emotions, pressure in our lives and our appetites and jealousies.

Have a look around now at your kitchen, the colour of the walls and general lay-out of things. What is your first impression? What does it say to you about your instinctive self? Are you clinical or passionate? Are the walls white/neutral or vivid/strong colours? Is it large or small? Is the instinctual, raw and pragmatic you an important part of your life? Or is it hidden away or missing? The trend in studio apartment architecture now, to build them without kitchens and have neutered mini servery’s instead, is a reflection of a missing essential in sections of our culture. Stripping away the practical ability to fend for yourself by cooking your own food and becoming dependent on pre-prepared meals is symptomatic of us having lost our way along the journey. Is your kitchen well equipped? Can you cook? Do you enjoy cooking for friends, family and yourself?

Returning to the rich historical connection our modern day kitchen has with Hestia’s hearth, as mentioned earlier it was the place where the highly necessary ritualised sacrifices took place. These sacrifices usually involved a calf or some other domesticated animal and those involved with the sacrifice would share in eating the meat of the roasted animal. So the power of the sacrifice would be in the ritualised slaughtering of the animal in dedication to the goddess for a particular purpose – to bring good fortune upon whatever was so desired for example. Today the cook or cooks go into the kitchen, risking cuts, perspiration and burns, to prepare a celebratory meal for our friends and or family – Christmas, birthdays and other days of ritualised festivities. We may not consciously invoke Hestia or any other gods but the overall intention is the same, we wish to share good cheer with those we love and bring good fortune upon us all.

It is interesting to ask oneself what is true sacrifice and what does it mean in our lives today? When we think of sacrificing something, we tend to see it as foregoing or missing out on something so as to have something else. “You cannot have your cake and eat it too.” Which I have always thought was an incredibly stupid saying, because what is the point of possessing uneaten cake? A sacrifice I hear you say, perhaps a slice for the gods. Interestingly the Greeks and Romans would eat the cooked flesh of their sacrifice, offering the bones and fat to the gods and goddesses, but it was the life itself, that was the real sacrifice in my view. The word sacrifice means to make sacred, so whatever we offer up in dedication to the gods becomes sacred. Actually the word anathema, was the Greek word for laying-up or suspending something in wait for the gods, and it is has now taken on the meaning of something that is accursed, through its contact, down through the ages, with the jealous Hebrew  god, Yahweh; the Christian god. Our language, and lexicon of words, have taken an interesting journey over the last four millennia, and it is no wonder we are all a little confused at times. So we could make  a correlation between sacrificing something in our life and that thing, which  has been sacrificed becomes anathema to us or accursed. How do you feel about the things you have sacrificed in your life? A person’s love; a relationship; a career; types of food; alcohol; drugs; sex; lifestyle; freedom?  We do not live in a particularly sacrificial age, more of a ‘you can have it all’ age, but can you really enjoy it all and be present for entirely disparate things in your life? Do we appreciate things more when we make room for them in our lives? Perhaps sacrifice still has a part to play in our lives today, better sharpen those knives.

The kitchen is also a place of transformation, where base elements are turned into the gold of love and nourishment. Is your kitchen a space where magic like this happens, regularly or just on special occasions? Domestic kitchens have a great tradition throughout the West of being incredibly impractical, lacking preparation space and adequate and functional cupboards. This is now being addressed in more modern homes, as the passion is returning to the kitchen. I think that we suffered for a few decades from the ‘American wonder of white goods’ syndrome, where no home was complete without these wonderful space and time saving machines and that a mentality of faster was better grew up around them. Fast foods, sliced white bread, whipped cream in a can, all these travesties were accorded the haloed status of modernity and progress. When in actual fact they were soulless short cuts that ripped the heart out of good cooking. Yes we still do have a lot of gadgets in the kitchen but we also now understand that good food still needs dedication and application. Bread makers are great, but bread cooked in a wood fired oven tastes better and if it is naturally fermented sour dough even better. Espresso coffee from your home machine tastes a lot better than instant coffee.

Your kitchen is a place where you can practically respond to the basic needs of living. Is your kitchen letting you do this? Is your kitchen supporting you in feeling centred and secure in dealing with the vicissitudes that life often throws up? Are your knives sharp and well balanced? Do you have enough bench space when preparing meals? Does your stove cook the way you want it to cook?  If not then you are letting yourself down and going around with a bloody great hole where your centre should be. As a member of the human tribe you need to be able to fend for yourself, and the kitchen can empower you to be grounded in the here and now. Not wafting around on the ceiling hoping for the crumbs of human kindness to drop your way.

Things we can do to transform our kitchen

 

As a chef, who has owned and managed a number of restaurants and cafes, I know all about kitchens and their design downfalls. First and foremost it is about space and in particular bench top space where most kitchens, especially older kitchens, are lacking. Storage space comes a close second and it is in these areas that a solid beginning can be made in transforming your kitchen from a frustration trap into a pragmatic pleasure dome. Cooking is never completely easy, if it is, it isn’t real cooking, in my opinion, there must be some blood, sweat and tears in every great dish but not too much. Unnecessary suffering is not on anyone’s menu by choice.

 

Buy an island bench if you lack bench top space and cannot easily create more, they are great and I have several of them, and you can take them with you when you move.

 

Sharp knives, that are also well weighted in the overall heft of the knife, can bring a smile to any good cook and I always say, “happiness is a sharp knife.”

 

Obviously kitchens need to be clean and cleaned regularly for all sorts of reasons, hygiene, health and happiness. Clutter in the kitchen causes chaos and calamity, food takes longer to prepare and the energy around it is bad.

 

Trapped dead energy, in the form of rotting and old produce in fridges and cupboards, does not augur well for happy kitchen gods and thus producing yummy healthy and nutritious food; so clean out and clean up.

 

©Sudha Hamilton

For more articles www.sudhahamilton.com or www.sacredchef.com

 


Spices and their Uses in History

“Spices greatly improved the state of food. In an age before refrigeration, once pastures dried in the autumn and livestock was slaughtered, meat was preserved for the long winter months by salting. From November until spring, dry, chewy, and salty flesh was the mainstay of the diet (of the better off, that is). Long boiling softened up and desalted the meat: sauces made with eastern spices turned it into enjoyable and varied dishes. During the numerous fast and Lenten days, fish was also rendered more flavourful by exotic seasonings. Wine, which tended to turn rancid soon after the barrel was opened, became drinkable owing to cloves and cinamon, and quick-spoiling ale was preserved by nutmeg.

Spices also healed a host of ailments, from stomach problems to pestilence, or so Cyriacus’s parents and contemporaries believed. Medical authorities advised that one should “eat a nutmeg in the morning, for the voiding of wind from the stomach, the liver, and the guts.” John of Eschenden, a fellow of Merton College, Oxford, credited his survival during the Black Death to a powder of cinnamon, aloes, myrrh, saffron, mace, and cloves. An elixir of ginger, pepper, galangal, cinnamon, and various herbs taken sparingly after lunch and dinner was said to cure impotence. And while ginger was meant to boost sperm, desire, pleasure, and fertility, pepper enhanced sexual performance. A Middle English guide to women’s health promised that three ounces of powdered cloves mixed with four egg yolks would make a woman conceive, “God willing.” Indeed spices did bend the ears of God and the saints. After all, the Magi brought frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus. Chrism, the anointing oil used for various church ceremonies, was mixed with a combination of spices. And when tombs of saintly figures were opened, they emanated sweet aromas.”

reference – To Wake The Dead by Marina Belozerskaya, Norton & Co, 2009, pp 16-17.


Montville School

The Sacred Chef spent an enjoyable few months catering for the kids at Montville Primary School recently. It is  a lovely little school painted in primary colours and it starts each day with rock n roll music cheerfully blaring out over the PA system, courtesy of the school janitor’s taste in music. As I would arrive in the morning, with my boxes of food prepared earlier that morning, it struck me as wonderfully different to what my primary school had been like. Then even the idea of having rock music as part of the singing classes, which I remember were broadcast over the radio sitting high on the wall above the teacher into the classroom once  a week, would have been cause for somebodies dismissal I am sure. At Montville School I felt a lovely relaxed camaraderie between parents arriving with children and the teachers and staff I met. Within this comforting hustle and bustle of students, making their way to classes to the strident beat of ACDC on a Highway to Hell, I would begin setting up the tuck shop kitchen.

Several of the mums on the P & C committee had worked hard to get me this gig, against some entrenched resistance to the idea of having a paid chef involved in the school canteen, and it had taken nearly six months of meetings.  I met a really friendly and enthusiastic bunch of volunteer mums and the occasional dad too, who all made me feel very welcome. Of course there were a few administrative hoops to get through, like getting a Blue card, which is a QLD Government permit to work in schools around children, meaning that they check me out to see that I am not a paedophile or other unsuitable character. This arrived the week after I had finished term 4 at the school and took in excess of four months to be processed at the cost of some $70 or $80 dollars I think. Next up was Insurance, although nobody was very sure what I was being insured for or against, this was closer to $600 or $700 for a year. I did ask if the volunteer mums were insured and they were not but despite the fact that I was doing exactly the same thing as they were, making food in my kitchen and bringing it to school to be sold, I had to have insurance – so I got that too.  There is an air of fear hanging over the administration of institutions like schools and I can understand it, but it also disempowers those involved in the process and removes individual humaneness. Interestingly with the Blue card there is a whole extra section to fill out if you are a member of a religious order – I suppose they have learnt to target the areas where the most likely offenders are coming from.

The school had a permaculture garden, which had been established by one of the mums and involved the kids in all the aspects of growing herbs and vegetables in a harmonious way with nature. This was to be a source of some of the produce to be used in the school lunches. It was things like this that really excited me about being involved in something like this and I had been inspired by Jamie Oliver’s TV series about transforming canteens in the British school system. I had also learnt about Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden program, which was now running in around a hundred schools in Australia. You see school canteens, like much of the rest of the economy and the fast food industry, had been taken over by free market inspired methodologies and their exponents. It was all about money – not just about costing too much but indeed they were using it to actually raise money by selling frozen crumbed everything with chips. You also had companies like Cadbury’s and Krispy Kreme doughnuts supplying their products at wholesale prices for schools to use in their fund raising activities. The companies get the kudos of being involved in ‘good deeds’ and at the same time are spreading the taste of their sugary products to the next generation. These economic first attitudes to how school canteens are being run are firmly entrenched in the P & C’s mind sets and are only just beginning to change. Montville Primary School is at the cutting edge of nutritional awareness in Australian schools and has a great bunch of parents involved in their P & C group.

Making food for kids, as I am sure many parents are aware, involves a balance between creating something that is familiar enough to their tastes for them to want to eat it and also can stretch their culinary experience  a little in the right direction. Here is  a word for you Neophobia – fear of the new – and in studies 77% of kids between the ages of 2 to 10 years regularly exhibit this behaviour in relation to unfamiliar foods. So now we can yell at our uncooperative kids at mealtimes, you “Neophobe!” So at the school, I was treading a fine line between, what the kids knew of as desirable fare and what I as a chef considered Tres Bien. There has also been a lot of talk about children not having physiologically developed taste buds like that of an adult, but after doing quite a bit of research I have found this not to be conclusively true. In fact there is a lack of scientific knowledge about taste buds and their receptors in our brains, indeed nutritional science is an under explored realm of science. Studies indicate that children need to be exposed to new foods and a wide variety of vegetables when they are very young, 2-10 years, for them to build up an appreciation of these flavours – we are establishing neural pathways at this time. Research has shown that genetically, if the children come from parents who are meat eaters, they will favour meat in their appreciation of flavours at early ages. Children have difficulty in answering graded questions in regard to their food and taste preferences at ages 2-10 years, and as we all know the visual appearance of food rates far more highly at these ages than as adults. So when I put too much garlic in the yoghurt dressing for the organic chicken burger, I received a bit of  a back lash from my young culinary punters, of course to my taste it was fairly bland. Making food on mass, for delicate pallets such as these, can leave one with a sneaking feeling of dissatisfaction as  a chef, but  I was always impressed by the enthusiasm and general verve of my clientèle.

Often I would need to begin at 5am to have the necessary number of serves ready, by the early lunchtime required, and this is always going to be true of fresh food. To prepare food, which is not from a frozen source, but created fresh for consumption, it needs to be cooked and assembled at the last possible moment to carry that aliveness into the mouths and digestive systems of the recipients. Real flavour and nutrition comes from this awareness and some hard work too. The mums and dads were also working hard as volunteers and contributing their love to the health and wellbeing of  all the children. In my 30 years experience in cooking I have found that there are no short cuts with good food.

In the end the forces of economics got me, as a local restaurant owner and parent came on board and said he would do it for nothing, and the P & C bowed to a better deal. I did however enjoy my time at the Montville Primary School tuck shop and applaud the parents involved for their commitment to good healthy food for their kids.


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